Finance Minister Mathias Cormann believes Malcolm Turnbull made Australia's position against US import tariffs on Aussie steel and aluminium "well understood" at the G20 summit.
Senator Cormann confirmed the pair spoke to US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, while the prime minister raised the issue directly with President Donald Trump.
"We understand the US concerns about the pressure that steel and aluminium sectors are under," he told ABC radio on Monday.
But Senator Cormann insisted Australia was a close ally and trusted trading partner which is not responsible for the issues the US is concerned about.
It should be exempt from any trade sanctions President Trump wants to impose.
Asked to rate Australia's chances of an exemption, Senator Cormann said: "As a result of the strong representations by the prime minister the Australian position is well understood".
He refused to speak more about the private conversations.